There is no denying that its tough to be a homeless pet. They are innocent bystanders that get caught in the crosshairs. Its an even rougher ride for the homeless cats everywhere in this province.
On any given day there are normally eight good cats for every good dog that is in the care of shelters and rescues around the province. And that’s not even counting the feral cats who are automatically killed when they are captured by AC’s around the province.
The few tiny pockets of protected cat colonies are outweighed by the ones who are swept up like trash in the wake of ‘at large’ municipal cat bylaws. Here in Kings County, guardians of cats running at large are subject to a $200.00 fine per cat. Tending a cat colony has become a clandestine activity that is directly dependant on the goodwill of one’s neighbours.
Its just as tricky to be a “tame’ cat. First they have the life and death testing to survive. Sadly, FIV tests do not differentiate between an infected cat and a vaccinated one. Cats are usually killed on the strength of one test without waiting for 28 days for a verification test.
Even worse, groups that use the saliva test instead of the more expensive blood test have a much higher rate of false positives. The actual percentage rate of FIV and FLV infections is under 4% for both feral and owned cats. Not to be mean, but in the newly published YTD stats on the society webpage, 32.4% of the cats taken in around the province are listed as euthanized for medical/behavioral reasons … when the other 10.4% who are killed for lack of space are factored in, to date 43.8% of the cats who came into the society’s care around the province never lived to tell the tale.
When you consider that these provincial statistics include the much improved adoption rates at Metro, its enough to make one weep about what is happening elsewhere.
To put that into perspective, in three months, 818 cats were killed … and that doesn’t even count the ones that were caught and killed by AC, the cats that were brought into the vets to be killed by their owners, the poor abandoned cats who starved or froze or became part of the food chain and of course the others who died a terrible and violent death by gunshot or beating or drowning.
It is a very positive sign that the society has taken an official position of support for TNR. Its a real bright spot to know they / aka the society bod are working on a plan for a high volume / low cost spay neuter program. I’m absolutely tickled to know that there will be an Alley Cat Bowl on May 9th ….. all the hard working little TNR groups around the province can sure use more tangible support.
Is that going to solve it all? Not by a long shot. Everyone, not just the society, needs to acknowledge some cold hard truths if they are going to get cats adopted:
- Does it cost more to drop adoption fees than to care for cats for months and in some cases years?
- Does an adoption fee really guarantee financial stability? While I have been waiting in my vets office I have seen people with good incomes refusing to buy food/get an x ray/blood test/etc because its ‘too expensive” Having an income doesn’t mean that they are prepared to spend it on their pets. Adoption screening that includes checking with vets is a more effective way to determine commitment to good vet care
- Can anyone afford NOT to use adoption incentives and programs? Between the November Adopt a Senior Pet Month and the December Home for the Holiday’s program, SHAID was able to find good homes not only for its seniors and long term residents but dozens of others who benefited by association.
In the interests of not putting any group on the defensive, there is a new term being used by some of our southern neighbours in lieu of the phrase “no kill” …. focusing on the more positive “guaranteed adoption” facility/group. Anything that encourages networking is of course in its own way an adoption incentive too.
Its way past time to find a new path, so that the leading cause of death for cats is not being rescued.